This story originally appeared in the April issue of ESPNHS Magazine.
Cathedral may have come up on the wrong end of the past two state championship games, but the Fighting Irish are determined to make another run at the crown this season.
Though they lost All-State pitcher Dillon Peters to graduation, there’s already another hurler ready to step into the role of team ace — senior right-hander Nick McCarty almost matched Peters’ production last season, going 11-0 with a 1.60 ERA, so the team is more than comfortable handing him the ball in a big spot. McCarty tossed seven complete games and struck out 68 batters in 67.2 innings, so he’s ready to take over as the team’s No. 1 starter.
With McCarty anchoring the rotation, the rest of the team falls nicely into place. Last year’s regular lineup was comprised mostly of underclassmen, so there’s experience and talent returning at nearly every position. Senior shortstop Matt Dauby is one of the most exciting position players in the state, as the Virginia Tech recruit is coming off a season in which he batted .354 with six home runs and 27 RBIs. Senior infielder Austin Boos hit .333 with 21 RBIs in 2011, and junior Brendan Flood and senior Mike Kseniak give the team two more returning .300 hitters. Junior outfielder Luke Cureton is also worth keeping an eye on; a 6-foot-2 athletic specimen, Cureton plays a terrific center field and could emerge as a power threat this season. McCarty, a Notre Dame recruit, also provides a big bat in right field, as he hit .398 with 26 RBIs in 2011.
On the mound, junior right-hander Will Birch figures to get a shot at the starting rotation behind McCarty, as will junior Alex Toneges and senior Jake Mills.
Follow Mike Grimala on Twitter (@ESPNHSGrimala).